Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman,
Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane
| Directed By :
For those few of you still living in caves, Harry Potter
is the tale of a boy who is orphaned at a young age and then
left to live with his abusive aunt and uncle. At the age of
11, Harry is taken away to study at Hogwarts, a prestigious
school of magic, where his own history and apparent fame begin
to be revealed to him. Once at the school, he makes friends
and discovers a dark secret that the faculty are trying to
keep hidden, even with the loose lips of Hagrid (Coltrane).
Without revealing too much of the story, I will say that Harry
Potter is fairly straightforward tale that spends a good
amount of time developing the characters and drawing the viewer
into their world.
I will state that Harry Potter did pull off a convincing
environment that has a "magical" (no pun intended) feel to
it. The sets and costumes were well done and the special effects
were good enough to create a quality feel to them without
being overly flashy. I think the low-key take on the special
effects helped in keeping the focus on the story and the characters.
The adult actors performed finely, even if they were mostly
secondary and got little screen time as other than window
dressing. As always, Robbie Coltrane was quite excellent.
The children actors are better than average. Due to the sheer
volume of screen time the children get, I was pleased that
their performances were convincing and well done.
The production staff's intention with this movie was to follow
the concept and story that made the book so popular, and in
that, I would say they were successful. Unfortunately though,
the pacing in the book doesn't seem to translate perfectly.
For the most part, the movie is slowly paced and spends an
inordinate amount of time developing the characters and relationships,
with a decent chunk of it involving Harry's history and the
tale of his parent's murder. It isn't until deep in the movie
that you realize that there is actually a villain and an actual
conflict and adventure to be discovered. Though, once this
conflict has been started, it feels short and customary, if
only because the build up takes up far more time to unfold.
As a starter for a series of books (and possibly movies),
this movie succeeds in laying the groundwork of the school,
students and teachers.
For those who loved the characters of the book, this will
be highly enjoyable. I, myself, was drawn in by the convincing
way the world was brought to the viewer but was left hanging
when the actual "Sorcerer's Stone" part came into play late
in the story. People who enjoy fantastical pieces will have
a good time. If you didn't get Harry Potter before
this film, don't expect that you will afterwards.